Friday, June 6, 2008

Back to Feminism

It's been a little while since I last talked about the question that got this blog started: whether or not I'm a frum feminist. It's mostly because I haven't had anything new to add to the subject, but lately that's changed.

I've recently found myself getting eerily interested in cooking and baking. Two cupcake books (not to mention the cupcake-decorating *GULP* gadgets) and online Food Channel videos in the last two to three weeks. Today, I bought a recipe keeper, which is basically a folder in which you can write and organize recipes that you find, and I bought it because I've been finding recipes, using them, and wishing I had a place to keep them.

Does that as sound 'housewivey' to you as it does to me? It's making me feel like I'm related to Bree Hodge, and that's seriously creepy. (Does the fact that I know who Bree Hodge is make me less frum, nevermind the feminist part?)

What it doesn't sound like is feminist.

It's not that my feminist views have changed. For example:

In addition to cooking and backing, I've also recently become interested in a show called Army Wives, which presents wives of U.S. Army personnel and shows them, (from what I can tell -- I haven't really watched the show,) almost exclusively as housewives. In true feminist fashion, I've found this a bit disconcerting. I read a comment about the show on the internet which said, "Why don't these women have their own careers?" and I agreed with it. I found it disturbing to see these women relegated to staying at home and taking care of the kids while their husbands went off to war.

Clearly I still have feminist views, but all this recent cooking-and-baking-enjoyment has got me questioning where exactly I stand on the feminist scale. So here I am again, faced with the question of:

Am I a Frum Feminist?


  1. There was an article in the Israeli paper "Makor Rishon" about the few religious pilots in the IAF, and their families.

    If a husband is a pilot, and therefore on call 24x7 to protect Israel, its nothing to be ashamed of if a wife of one of those pilots is not career oriented and choses to take care of her kids as a stay at home mom.

    Why do you find it disconcerting that men are protecting the country and that women are staying at home to raise their children? What would you prefer? That married women go fight in the trenches? Get full of mud, lie in a ditch and shoot at terrorists? Stand at roadblocks checking for suicide bombers?

    If a couple has decided to have children, someone needs to take care of the children and someone also needs to defend the country.

  2. You're right; the wife of a man in the army has nothing to be ashamed of if she wants to be a stay at home mom.

    I have nothing but respect for full-time mothers. I think that they have one of the most difficult jobs in the world. If that what a woman decides that she wants to do with her life, all power to her, I say.

    However, I do believe that if a woman wants to be able to have a career in addition to being a mother that she should be able to. Yes, it should be her choice, and if she doesn't want an "away-from-home career," I respect that. But I don't think that women who would like to do more than be housewives and full-time mothers should be limited.

    And if a woman wants to work to protect her country, why shouldn't she be able to as well? If, as you write, a couple has decided to have children -- yes, someone does need to take care of them and someone does need to defend the country. But why does it necessarily have to be the female who cares for the children and the male who defends the country? Isn't it possible for a female to help defend her country?

    Thank you for your comment. I enjoy your blog.

  3. Okay, I know that this is post from a while ago, but I don't think that baking and cooking makes you any less of a feminist! The activities that you enjoy don't define you- if anything, it makes you more of a feminist to not be constrained by stereotypes that say that as a feminist, you shouldn't be doing those things.